Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Adventures in Bead Embroidered Art

I've been toying with the idea of doing a small, framed art piece that's bead embroidered for some time.  This winter I began the process of giving it a shot.  After the rush of holiday markets and gift making, it was nice to just sit back with a relaxing project with no firm deadline looming... something that I realized might end up just being for me.  I'd love to share a bit of that journey with you!

It all started with a frame that I've had for about 24 years that I never actually used for photos.  I loved the floral textured look to it and felt like it would be a whimsical addition to my first attempt at bead embroidered art.  I pulled out my supplies and got to work!  

I used the original glass to measure the size of the bead foundation and then used my white gel pen to trace the frame's opening that would be my canvas.

Next up, I began positioning my main focal as well as other larger decorative pieces to lay out the general design.  Since the cabochon I chose  featured butterflies swirling around a red haired maiden, I chose a selection of butterflies and flowers to fill in the rest of the space.  I included some lovely polymer clay butterflies (artist unknown) as well as a brass charm then added in a variety of coordinating Czech glass flower beads.  At this point, I only glued down my main focal and was just playing with potential spacing of other elements.

Once I got my cabochon bezeled, I picked out some coordinating crystal cup chain to go around the bezel.  I love the effect but am no pro at getting cup chain to behave nicely!  With that corner of the piece done, it was time to get serious about the placement of my other larger elements.  I positioned things again and got it all glued down with some E6000.  Next, to create a little movement across the piece, I sketched in some swirls that began at the little gap left between the two ends of the cup chain.  I then used gold size 15 seed beads along those swirls.

From this point, I started outlining the embellishments with various rows of seed beads.  I also sewed down the beads and butterflies for added security.  (I always hate relying only on glue!)

This became a fun exercise in playing with various textures as well as shades of metallic.  I used a variety of colors and finishes as I continued to build out the design.  Teacup beads, gingkoes, and bugle beads helped fill in awkward spaces.  As I worked I would periodically put the piece into the frame to make sure that I stayed on track.

After many, many hours of quiet sewing, my little artwork was finally complete.  I named this "Lady of the Butterflies" and entered it into the Arts Consortium of Carver County member awards show.  It's both exciting and a little bittersweet that that someone has purchased this little Lady from the gallery show!  Honestly, I would have been happy to keep her, but hopefully she is loved wherever she ends up.  

Overall, I'm really proud of the outcome and look forward to trying my hand at some more framed pieces in the near future.  It's fun to break out of your normal routine and try something totally new!  Is there something you've been wanting to try?  I encourage you to get out there and do it!  

Monday, April 1, 2024

Inspiration for the April 2024 Honey Do List

No fooling, it's time for the April Honey Do List Inspiration!!

2024 marks the ninth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... The Honey Do List!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!  Thanks to all of you who have participated over the years... it means a lot to both of us!

Lately no one has been playing along with us, but we will continue on since I enjoy having the inspiration to make something each month.
Here's this month's inspiration photo and what Eric had to say about it:

This month I wanted something colorful. I took a lot of pictures when we were on our Vegas trip recently, but have not gone through them all yet.  I really liked this wall of flowers and sexy lady/octopus from a seafood restaurant we walked past.  We didn't eat here, but they win for decorations!

The reveal date will be Monday, April 22nd.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs or links as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on April 22nd and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open.  You can check it out HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!